Kirschenbaum, who was Universal’s co-president of production, and Roth, a veteran producer and executive, worked together last on “Snow White and the Huntsman.” The duo will be reunited as Roth brings the 2012 film’s sequel to the bigscreen.
The new venture will be called Roth/Kirschenbaum Films. Roth made the move to take on the new partner just about a week after losing creative partner Palak Patel to Sony Pictures. Patel took a job as an executive vice president for production under Tom Rothman and Doug Belgrad at the Culver City studio.
In Kirschenbaum, Roth gets a partner who has been associated with many big event films, including installments in the “Fast & Furious” and “Bourne” franchises. Kirschenbaum joined Universal as a director of development in 2001. He became VP of production in 2004 and was senior VP of production in 2007 before moving to a post as executive VP of the production operation in 2011. He has been working as co-president of production at Universal alongside Peter Cramer.
Roth said that, with the departure of Patel, he needed another top executive to push ahead his film slate, which includes four big pictures set for release by the middle of next year — including the “Alice Through the Looking Glass” for Disney, the Jennifer Garner vehicle “Miracles from Heaven” for Sony and the “Huntsman” sequel for Universal.
“This guy has great talent relations, great writer relations, and he knows how to get the job done,” Roth said Friday. “I thought he was the best executive fit for me.”
Universal chair Donna Langley sent an email to studio employees Friday afternoon thanking Kirschenbaum, 45, for his contributions to the studio. “Jeff has provided tremendous leadership and during his time at the studio has shepherded some of the most significant tentpole films in Universal history,” Langley wrote, “including the blockbuster ‘Fast & Furious,’ ‘Bourne’ and ‘Mummy’ series, as well as the ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ franchise. We are fortunate to seamlessly transition with Jeff into ‘The Huntsman,’ which is currently in post-production.”
Langley went on to praise the departing exec as a “creative partner who never shied away from getting in the trenches with filmmakers.” She noted that several projects he will be producing in partnership with Roth will fall under the Universal banner, including “90 Church Street,” “School for Good and Evil” and “Red Rising.”
The studio chief said Peter Cramer will now be the sole executive overseeing production at Universal.
Kirschenbaum had recently been rumored to be eyeing a production position at Warner Bros., but executives there say they’re not planning changes in their production operation.
The move was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.